The United States is looking to see Russia weakened, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after a visit to Ukraine. After talks with Ukrainian officials and members of the military, he left Kiev saying that as long as Russia continues its destabilizing actions in eastern Europe then it will have “to pay dearly.”
The “what happens if russia invades ukraine” is a question that has been asked by many people. The U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. wants Russia to be weakened after his visit to Ukraine.
After he and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and offered greater US military help to the nation, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated Russia’s military capabilities should be reduced.
“We want to see Russia reduced to the point where it can’t do what it did in invading Ukraine,” Mr. Austin said Monday following the highest-level visit of US officials to Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. “Russia is failing, Ukraine is prospering,” Mr. Blinken remarked.
Russia targeted numerous Ukrainian railway terminals with missile attacks on Monday, significantly delaying train traffic, in an effort to stop the supply of heavy weaponry from the US and other allies to the front lines in Ukraine. Meanwhile, major fires broke out at gasoline storage facilities and a neighboring military fuel station in the Russian province of Bryansk, around 60 miles from the Ukrainian border, according to Russian official media.
After meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin declared the US wants Russia weaker; a Russian oil station caught fire; Ukrainian Orthodox Christians celebrated Easter as combat raged. Associated Press photo
Russian officials said they were looking into the fires at the facility, which stored roughly 15,000 tons of fuel, according to Russian state media. The fires broke out less than a month after Russia said Ukrainian helicopters attacked an oil station in Russia’s Belgorod area, which borders Ukraine. On Monday, Russian state television broadcast video from security cameras that seemed to show a big explosion followed by a fire.
Local authorities say the Russian missile attacks struck train equipment in the Rivne area of central Ukraine. They came after additional missile assaults in Poltava late Sunday that hit an electrical facility and a petroleum refinery. The governor of Vinnytsia, Ukraine’s central province, stated early Monday that Russian missiles had damaged important infrastructure in the area, killing and injuring people, but he did not offer any specifics.
Mr. Zelensky was promised by Messrs. Blinken and Austin that Washington would reopen its embassy in Kyiv and offer Ukraine with $322 million in foreign military support to enable Kyiv to purchase required weaponry. Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, urged in a diplomatic message that Washington halt delivering arms to Ukraine, according to Russian news agency RIA.
In Lviv, western Ukraine, artificial flowers cover a memorial wall for those lost during the conflict.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/yuriy Dyachyshyn
Kharkiv’s subterranean parking lot serves as a temporary sanctuary for Ukrainians fleeing the city’s shelling in the northeast.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/Sergey Bobok
“We feel they can win if they have the necessary equipment and assistance,” Mr. Austin said, adding that Mr. Zelensky is “focused on what he believes he’ll need next in order to be successful.” Ukraine has shown interest in receiving additional tanks in addition to artillery, he added.
Mr. Zelensky said that the United States’ $3.4 billion in military assistance had been the most significant contribution to Ukraine’s defense operations so far, adding that he had also addressed sanctions against Russia, financial assistance for Ukraine, and security assurances with the secretaries.
In a statement on his website, he added, “I would want to thank President Biden personally and on behalf of the whole Ukrainian people for his leadership in supporting Ukraine, for his personal unambiguous stance.”
Mr. Biden intends to propose Bridget Brink, the current US ambassador to Slovakia, as ambassador to Ukraine, according to the White House. Since President Donald Trump fired the last Senate-confirmed ambassador to the nation, Marie Yovanovitch, in 2019, the office has been empty.
Messrs. Austin and Blinken praised Ukraine’s accomplishment in repelling Russia’s first assault on Kyiv while preserving its sovereignty. On the flight out of Poland, a senior State Department official briefed reporters on many aspects of Ukraine’s military campaign discussed with Mr. Zelensky, including Russia’s depleted forces and inability to devote significant additional resources to the war without jeopardizing its stance against NATO and even Finland, which may join the alliance.
Nonetheless, US authorities acknowledged that Russian President Vladimir Putin may chose to escalate the conflict, potentially with the use of WMDs.
“I expect May to be very much in his mind in terms of trying to prove something, so we fully expect him to push the pedal as hard as he can,” the senior official said. “We’re doing our best to be ready for everything.”
Mr. Putin is “looking at the whole width of the Black Sea coastline,” according to the senior source, after striking Odessa in recent days.
In the lack of proper information or analysis, the official refused to comment on the explosions in Bryansk.
Mr. Blinken said he spoke with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday and that the UN chief, who is scheduled to visit Moscow and Kyiv this week, would send a “clear, direct message” on behalf of the majority of the world that Russia should agree to a cease-fire, provide needed aid to civilians, and end the conflict.
On Sunday, rescuers in Odessa, Ukraine, cleaned rubble from a damaged building.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/oleksandr gimanov
In the southern coastal city of Mariupol, a youngster stands next to a destroyed automobile.
ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/
Mr. Guterres had requested a four-day cease-fire during Orthodox Holy Week to enable people to be evacuated from front-line towns and humanitarian supplies to be delivered.
Moscow rejected the cease-fire plan, claiming it was a deception to enable Ukraine’s forces to rest and reorganize.
Senior US military leaders speaking at a base in Poland highlighted an expanding logistical network for sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine, as well as a regional drive to boost troop numbers and exercises with NATO allies on the alliance’s eastern border.
According to a senior military official, the facility is now processing seven 155-mm artillery pieces, as well as their tow trucks, to add to the 18 howitzers the US has already delivered to Ukraine. Sixty US howitzers and 155-mm artillery shells were spotted on pallets at the Polish site as part of a fresh assistance package to Ukraine.
The emphasis on heavy artillery and armored vehicles comes as Russia withdraws some of its soldiers from northern Ukraine’s cities in favor of the eastern Donbas area, where a high-stakes war on wide-open territory is anticipated.
Mr. Austin will attend a meeting at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany on Tuesday with other defense ministers, including Ukraine’s Oleksii Reznikov and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. The subjects to be addressed include briefing delegates from more than 20 nations on the latest information from the Ukrainian battlefield, security assistance to Kyiv, and long-term development of NATO’s military-industrial foundation to help Ukraine’s defense, according to a defense official.
Ukraine’s requirement for what NATO deems nonstandard ammunition and weapons systems, as well as conversations about whether the former Soviet republic may move to standard NATO weaponry, are among the issues to be discussed during the meeting, according to the source. The 155-mm caliber, for example, is incompatible with howitzers built to fire 152-mm rounds.
The official said that the return of a US diplomatic presence to Ukraine, which comes after moves by the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and other countries, will help American and Ukrainian officials coordinate aid and other efforts in person and prepare for a future consular operation to address the needs of citizens from both countries. The defense official said the military would react to the State Department’s requests and refused to specify whether US Marines would assist secure the embassy in Kyiv.
When asked whether the heightened US attention on Ukraine risked inflaming tensions with Russia, the US official said that the US has no intentions to send soldiers into the war.
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The “will russia invade ukraine” is a question that has been asked many times before. The U.S. Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, visited Ukraine and said the U.S. wants to see Russia weakened due to its invasion of Crimea in 2014.
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